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Benevolent Hostility

The Bestie Approach


noun    |    best·ie    |     ˈbe-stē     |    [bes-tee]

Definition of Bestie

1.   Informal. A person’s best friend.

2.   German. Something formidably difficult to control or deal with.

3.   Business. Someone who eliminates problems through benevolent hostility.

Dive into the world of benevolent hostility and find out how it can help you combat grand corruption and unchecked greed.

In a world full of crooks and criminals, the biggest threat to success is not competition, but corruption. As an activist investor, I’ve seen how corruption can derail even the most promising ventures, leaving honest, hard-working people in the dust. It’s like trying to win a marathon while wearing concrete boots. That’s why I’ve developed a unique approach called “benevolent hostility” to level the playing field. Here, I’ll break down this powerful strategy and show you how I use it to create positive change in the world.

The Power of Benevolent Hostility

Benevolent hostility might sound intense, but it’s actually a pretty simple idea: sometimes, shaking things up a little can make everything better, like a snow globe revealing a beautiful scene only after it’s shaken. The concept is rooted in a scientific principle called xenohormesis, which suggests that a little bit of stress can be good for us. This principle is seen in various aspects of life, from exercise (where a little muscle strain leads to growth) to business (where small startups can disrupt legacy industries like a small fish navigating through the coral).

Xenohormesis is a fascinating phenomenon observed in nature, akin to the way a caterpillar undergoes a challenging metamorphosis to become a beautiful butterfly. It posits that organisms can benefit from the mild stress induced by small doses of toxic or otherwise harmful substances. In the context of plant biology, for example, xenohormesis is believed to promote longevity and resistance to diseases. This principle can be applied to life in general, as embracing challenges and overcoming adversity often results in growth and resilience.

When we expose shady stuff and make people take a hard look at what’s going on, we can create an environment where honesty and integrity win. Benevolent hostility can take many forms, from peaceful protests to disruptive innovations that challenge established industries like a strong gust of wind that topples a house of cards. What unites these actions is the goal of creating positive change by forcing people to confront the uncomfortable truths they’d rather ignore.

In the realm of corporate takeover and leveraged buyouts, benevolent hostility serves as a guiding principle, embracing challenges, overcoming adversity, and leading to growth and resilience.

Step 1: Killing Them with Kindness

Before resorting to more aggressive tactics, it’s crucial to give diplomacy a chance. In my experience, many issues can be resolved through open dialogue and a sincere willingness to listen to others. When dealing with potential corruption, first try to engage with the other party and uncover the root of the problem. It’s like using a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer. If this approach works, you’ll have resolved the issue without having to escalate the situation further.

The concept of “killing them with kindness” can be traced back to ancient wisdom, such as the Chinese proverb, “To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.” This approach emphasizes the power of empathy, understanding, and patience in resolving conflicts. A fascinating example of this strategy comes from Abraham Lincoln, who, despite being surrounded by critics and enemies during his presidency, consistently treated them with kindness and respect. This approach not only helped him build alliances but also showcased his emotional intelligence and leadership skills.

In the corporate world, we can see this strategy in action through businesses that choose to collaborate rather than compete, fostering a spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit. It’s like two rival chefs joining forces to create an exquisite meal, combining their unique talents to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Another interesting aspect of “killing them with kindness” is the psychological impact it can have on the opposing party. When faced with kindness and understanding, they may find it harder to maintain their hostility or justify their actions, much like a fire struggling to burn without oxygen. This unexpected response can lead to a shift in perspective and potentially even a change of heart.

In some cases, kindness can also create a ripple effect, inspiring others to act with compassion and integrity. It’s like a pebble tossed into a pond, causing waves to spread outward and touch every shore. By taking the high road and leading with kindness, you can inspire positive change not only in your immediate situation but also in the world at large.

“Killing them with kindness” is an invaluable first step when addressing potential conflict. By engaging with the other party, uncovering the root of the problem, and demonstrating empathy and understanding, you may resolve the issue without needing to escalate the situation further.

Step 2: Fighting Fire with Fire

Unfortunately, not all situations can be resolved through diplomacy alone. We live in a world where challenges are abundant, and solutions can be scarce, so it’s necessary to consider unconventional approaches to achieve positive change. When faced with fire, the natural reaction is to extinguish it with water, but I argue that sometimes, “fighting fire with fire” is not only necessary but also effective. At first glance, this concept may seem counterintuitive, even dangerous. However, let’s explore some situations where such methods have produced remarkable results.

In the realm of forest management, controlled burns have long been employed to prevent catastrophic wildfires. By intentionally setting small fires, we eliminate dead undergrowth, reducing the fuel that feeds larger, uncontrollable fires. In this way, we use fire to protect our forests and maintain a healthier ecosystem.

In the field of medicine, immunotherapy is another striking example of the power of fighting fire with fire. By introducing weakened or inactivated forms of pathogens into the body, we stimulate the immune system to recognize and combat these invaders. This approach has led to the eradication of deadly diseases, such as smallpox, and the development of life-saving vaccines for many others.

Furthermore, in the world of politics, embracing a fire-with-fire strategy has sometimes been the only way to enact meaningful change. When facing authoritarian oppression, for example, peaceful resistance can prove ineffective. By adopting a more assertive stance and matching the regime’s injustices with equivalent opposing force, we may create the necessary conditions for democracy and justice to flourish.

Even in the fight against discrimination, our fire-with-fire approach has led to significant progress. Take the women’s rights movement and the struggle for racial equality: history has shown that sometimes, it is only by matching the intensity of the opposition that marginalized groups can secure their rights and achieve lasting change.

The point is, not all situations can be resolved through diplomacy alone. When faced with resistance or outright oppression, it’s time to switch gears and “fight fire with fire.” This could mean using legal channels, public relations campaigns, or other means to apply pressure and hold the corrupt parties accountable. By matching their tactics and intensity, you can level the playing field and create the necessary change.

Step 3: Slash and Burn

When fighting corruption, it’s necessary to cut ties with impaired individuals and organizations. This can be a difficult process, but in the long run, it’s better for you and your standing in the world. It’s like pruning a diseased branch to save the entire tree. By severing connections with corrupt entities, you send a clear message that you won’t tolerate unethical behavior and will actively work against it.

The concept of “slash and burn” stems from an ancient agricultural technique where farmers would clear land by cutting down vegetation and burning the remains, creating fertile ground for new growth. In today’s world, this metaphorical “slash and burn” approach involves identifying and eliminating corrupt elements from your business dealings. Like a gardener removing weeds to allow flowers to bloom, you must take a proactive stance to rid yourself of even the slightest taint of corruption.

Taking this approach is not without its challenges. In some cases, it may involve ending long-standing relationships or sacrificing short-term gains for long-term integrity. It’s essential to keep a keen eye on the bigger picture and recognize that the temporary pain of cutting ties is often outweighed by the long-term benefits of a corruption-free environment and top-tier reputation.

Cutting ties with corrupt entities can also serve as a powerful deterrent for future misconduct. As the saying goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.” By taking decisive action, you not only protect yourself but also send a clear message to potential wrongdoers that their behavior won’t be tolerated.

Adopting a “slash and burn” approach to fighting corruption is a vital aspect of benevolent hostility. By cutting ties with toxic individuals and organizations, we can create a more equitable playing field and foster an environment in which integrity and transparency are valued above all else. While it may be challenging, this uncompromising stance is essential for long-term success in a world where corruption remains a pervasive and persistent threat.

Step 4: Scorched Earth

Finally, we arrive at the scorched earth approach, which is reserved for the most extreme cases. The “scorched earth” approach has its origins in military history, akin to a chess player sacrificing their queen to achieve checkmate. It refers to a strategy in which an army destroys everything in its path as it retreats, leaving nothing for the advancing enemy to use. This approach can be applied metaphorically in the battle against corruption, as it involves using all available resources and tactics to expose and eliminate dishonest behavior.

Adopting a scorched earth approach sends a powerful message that you’re a force to be reckoned with and willing to do whatever it takes to expose corruption and level the playing field.

Drawing a line in the sand and implementing a scorched earth approach can be necessary when faced with cunning adversaries who refuse to play by the rules. Just like an immune system attacking an infection, you can create lasting change and make success achievable for all.

As Daniel Loeb of Third Point once said, “Sometimes a town hanging is useful to establish my reputation.” This tactic involves using every resource at your disposal to expose corruption and demand accountability. It’s a last resort, but when used effectively, it can create lasting, positive change.

Debunking Criticism

Some critics may argue that benevolent hostility is too aggressive, like a bull in a china shop, or that it may lead to unnecessary conflict, creating more harm than good. However, I believe that in the face of corruption, it’s crucial to take a stand and fight for what’s right. It’s like using a flashlight to reveal the rats and cockroaches hiding in the shadows to get rid of them.

Detractors might also suggest that benevolent hostility could damage relationships or alienate potential allies. It’s important to remember, though, that these tactics are designed to be used strategically and responsibly.

Benevolent hostility is about applying pressure in a targeted and measured way to encourage progress and positive change. Consider the diamond, which is formed under intense pressure and heat deep within the Earth’s mantle. Similarly, benevolent hostility can produce valuable outcomes, like improved governance or increased accountability, when applied thoughtfully.

Another common criticism is that benevolent hostility could inadvertently harm innocent parties or create unintended consequences. While this is a valid concern, it’s important to weigh the potential harm against the greater good that can be achieved by exposing corruption and leveling the playing field. By taking a stand against corruption, we can foster an environment where integrity and honesty are rewarded, ultimately benefiting everyone.

While my benevolent hostility approach has its detractors, I believe that it is a necessary tool in the fight against corruption. By using these tactics strategically and responsibly, benevolent hostility can serve as a powerful defense against the insidious forces of corruption that threaten our social and financial well-being.

Case Studies of Benevolent Barbarians in the Fight Against Corruption

  1. Investigative Journalism: The Modern-Day Sherlock Holmes

    Investigative journalists are like the Sherlock Holmes of the modern world, using their intellect and persistence to uncover the truth. Through in-depth reporting and relentless pursuit of facts, these journalistic crusaders expose corruption and illicit activities in various sectors. Their relentless pursuit of the truth brings to light wrongdoings that might have otherwise remained hidden. As a result, these courageous reporters create an environment where individuals and organizations are held accountable for their actions, helping to level the playing field.

  2. Whistleblowers: The Courageous Voices Against Corruption

    Whistleblowers are the unsung heroes in the fight against corruption, taking a stand against unethical behavior within their organizations. Much like a fire alarm that alerts everyone to danger, these individuals bravely come forward to report unethical behavior within their organizations. By risking their careers and reputations, they expose corruption, level the playing field, and contribute to a culture of integrity. Their selfless actions can be catalysts for change, ensuring a fairer and more transparent world for everyone. Did you know that whistleblowers have a long history, dating back to the establishment of the world’s first whistleblower protection law in 1778 during the American Revolution? Their courage has made a difference for centuries.

  3. Shareholder Activism: The Financial Gladiators

    Activist investors are the financial gladiators, stepping into the arena to challenge corporate boards and executives on issues such as accountability, transparency, and social policies. These modern-day Spartans wield the power of the law to hold companies accountable and create a more equitable corporate landscape. Just as the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae made a stand against overwhelming odds, these activist investors show that sometimes a small group can make a big difference in the fight for fairness and integrity.


The power of benevolent hostility lies in its ability to expose corruption, level the playing field, and create lasting, positive change. By sharing my unique approach, I hope to ignite a fire in you to take charge of your own destiny and make room for what you want in the world. Like a skilled sculptor chiseling away at a block of marble to reveal a masterpiece, you have the power to chip away at corruption and sculpt an environment where trust and integrity can thrive.

By strategically applying the principles of benevolent hostility, we can hold corrupt individuals and institutions accountable, paving the way for a more just and equitable world. In the face of adversity, remember that even the smallest actions can have a profound impact, like ripples on the surface of a pond spreading outwards and touching every shore.

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